When you create somebody, you impose all the risks of life upon them.
Labkhand Olfatmanesh is a multidisciplinary artist examining topics of feminism, race, and isolation. Her work explores how these forces take dual shape as an immigrant to the United States and in her home country of Iran. Her recent photo and video work has been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions including Photo London U.K. (2018), Rencontres d’Arles, France (2018); Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles (2019); 4 Culture, Seattle (2019); FestFoto Brazil (2019); POST Gallery (2019); at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (2019). She has been awarded high honors from The Los Angeles Center of Photography (First Place, 2018) and LensCulture (Jurors Pick, 2018), among others. She received B.A. in graphic design and Certificate in 2006 at London Academy of Radio, Film, and Television.
“BabyMaybe” is an ongoing project comprising performance, photographs, film, interviews with women of child-bearing age, and interactive gallery experiences.
Why do we feel comfortable casually assuming that a woman will have or will plan to have a child? How did bearing a child become a key indicator of a woman’s identity and value? Are women simply forever trapped by virtue of their biology? Will they ever be truly free?
Since April 2018, Olfatmanesh has been exploring these questions through a variety of mediums, including film, photography, provocative public performance art, and interactive gallery experiences. Her artistic investigations for “BabyMaybe,” as she has christened it, have led her far and wide. She has interviewed women in her native Iran to record their perspectives on the pressure they feel to procreate, and she has conceptualized startling performances, as when she walked down crowded Hollywood blvd in Los Angeles, where she’s based, wearing a clear plexiglas pregnant belly containing a lifelike plastic baby.
Much like the themes she’s exploring, “BabyMaybe” is an ongoing project and a work in progress. Follow along with Labkhand (Labbie) as she gestates her most ambitious art-child to date.
“Photography is both distancing and drawing near at the same time. Through my work I examine social, political, and psychological themes to build upon this variable distance between the photographer and subject. I tell personal stories about my subjects, myself and my relationship to identity and gender within two cultures the United States and Iran. I utilize this as a healing methodology to expand and examine the interplay between personal and social constriction that is both confrontational and vulnerable. The approaches I take across varied mediums— including video, performance, sculpture and installation— blends fictionalized narratives with documentary techniques, varied methods of portraiture, and formal staging to explore intimacy, humor, psychology, gender, feminism, and transitory states that bridge one identity with another.
My practice as an immigrant artist has grown from these early roots to incorporate themes of inclusion, identity, representation, role playing, gender, and art-as-healing. The interplay between transparency, masks, alter identities, and shadow selves comes back again and again in my work. These are all different interpretations and characterizations of body across cultural affiliation and gender. Communication, and barriers to communication, also factor into my interests. The physicality of barriers also relates to blocked layers of communication across cultures and generations.”
– Labkhand Olfatmanesh
On display for one week beginning 1.15.21
Helms Design Center at 8745 Washington Boulevard
All artwork is copyrighted work of the artist. All rights reserved. Images not to be used without permission.